Shooting Star 5-29-06This will be brief - I'll try to add more later with some imagess. : We arrived at the St mary's glacier trailhead around 10am. Two ohours laterr we were looking at the snowfield we would ski down to james lake. We found an old cabin to biviy in. We left some gear there and spent the afternoon skiing some of the lower angle surrounding slopes things around 30, 35 degree. Wonderful conditions despite the recent heat wave. No wet sluffing, just carving through the top 3 or 4 inches of corn. Around 5pm it started to snow... we got back to our cabin to bivy in, and the snow was pretty much horizontal from then until around 1am that night. Not much accumulation, just a lot of blowing. having ice tools, used the hammers to add some planks to the roof of the cabin - kept most of the snow out. Woke up around 4 or so, watched the sun rise as we worked our way up the lower snowfields. As we headed up the first steep snow, but before it splits three ways (Super star right, shooting star left, etc.) we talked a bit about conditions, thinking about rock fall and deteriorating snow that might await us up in the couloir. We went for it. We had skis on our backs, and one long axe and one ice tool each. Turned out to be great. Never saw a single rock fall - just ice fragments peeling off the large east face as it warmed. Mostly kicking steps, but some snow that we climbed in the shade was very firm - we were able to front-point and use the picks more than the shafts. Topped out around 9, maybe a little earlier? Kinda slow, but skis are heavy... and didn't really sleep at all with the blowing snow / wind storm all night. Tons of fun. This may be my favorite snow climb yet. Steep and beautiful. I had my slope meter with me - mostly 50-55 degrees, maxed around 57/58 degrees.
Climb early. Have fun. The top: